An exploration into the effects of L1 explanatory notes on L2 oral production: liberation of the mind or shackles of dependency?
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Based on the premise that novice EAL learners have limited working memory resources to comprehend academic text, L1 explanatory notes were seen as a possible instrument to use in decreasing the cognitive demands of reading and increase the available working memory resources available for discussions. The hypotheses of this study were largely unsupported but from the data emerged a new hypothesis for second language acquisition; The Formality Hypothesis. This hypothesis posits that the presence or absence of the L1 signals various levels of formality in the learning task. Isolation of the L2 may therefore signal high levels of formality leading to the development of learners’ CALP (Cummins, 1979) whereas incorporation of the L1 into L2 input signals lower levels of formality leading to the development of learners’ BICS (Cummins, 1979).